Frequently Asked Questions

I am not sure whether I require a building permit - what should I do?

Please contact the Building Department with details of the work you're planning. Our staff will be able to assist you in determining if a permit is required. Making early enquiries about your project will help to resolve any possible issues you may encounter.


Why do I need a building permit?

A Building Permit provides the means to review the project designs, to inspect the actual construction and to ensure that the health, safety and welfare of the occupants of the building are maintained. By reviewing and approving plans before any work is done ensures that construction within the Municipality of South Bruce complies with the Ontario Building Code (which sets minimum standards for design and materials), the local zoning by-law (which controls building location, height, parking, etc. and uses that are suitable to the area) and other applicable laws.

A building permit is a formal approval to construct, add to, or renovate a building on your property. Building permits allow the municipality to protect the interests of both individuals and the community as a whole.


When is a building permit required?

The Ontario Building Code Act requires a building permit when a person constructs or demolishes a building or causes a building to be constructed or demolished. A building is defined as:

(a) a structure occupying an area greater than 10 m2 (107.6 ft2 ) consisting of a wall, roof, and floor or any of them or a structural system serving the function thereof including all plumbing, works, fixtures, and service systems appurtenant thereto,

(b) a structure occupying an area of 10 m2 (107.6 ft2) or less that contains plumbing, including the plumbing appurtenant thereto,

(c) plumbing not located in a structure

(d) a sewage system; or

(e) structures designated in the building code


What construction projects DO require a Building Permit?

(NOTE: This is a general list and is not intended to represent the complete list of possible projects.)

  • Any structure over 10 m2 (107.6 ft2)
  • Any addition to an existing structure, regardless of the size of the addition
  • Interior alterations for non-residential units
  • Interior alterations for residential units including, but not limited to, creation of
    bedroom(s), converting a garage to living space, converting a seasonal room to year round use, or creating a new dwelling unit
  • Extensive interior renovations that include any structural changes or repairs (e.g.
    replacement of insulation, removal of interior walls, installation or removal of supporting beams)
  • Installation of solid fuel appliances (i.e. woodstoves and fireplaces)
  • A new building entrance
  • A new window/door opening or replacing an existing window/door to a larger size opening
  • A deck
  • A shed over 10 m2 (107.6 ft2)
  • Outdoor Swimming Pool (see By-Law 2008-14)
  • Adding new dormers
  • Enclosing a porch
  • Any change of use to a greater hazard (see O.B.C. Division C, Part 1, Table 1.3.1.4)
  • Signs installed on an exterior building face or roof
  • Free standing signs
  • Any installation or alteration of a plumbing system (water supply, drain, waste or vent)
  • Converting from a well or septic system to Town water or sanitary sewer
  • Installing solar panels onto a building

What construction projects DO NOT require a Building Permit?

(NOTE: This is a general list and is not intended to represent the complete list of possible projects.)

A building permit is not required for a detached accessory structure such as a gazebo or tool shed that measures an area of 10 m2 (107.6 ft2) or less. However, the location and height of all new structures must comply with the Municipality of South Bruce Zoning Bylaw.

  • Installing replacement asphalt shingles on a roof
  • Minor roof sheathing repairs
  • Repointing of brick veneer
  • Replacing siding
  • Replacing doors or windows (provided they are in the same size opening)
  • Kitchen or bathroom cabinets (not including plumbing)
  • New flooring
  • Installation of air conditioning units or heat pumps
  • Boundary Fences
  • Pool heaters
  • Painting and decorating
  • Landscaping

Do I need a permit to erect a tent used for special occasions?

Yes. As regulated under the Ontario Building Code, any tent over 60 m2 (646 ft2), any size tent attached to a building, or any size tent constructed less that 3 m from other structures, requires a building permit. For further information please contact the Building Department.


When do I require a demolition permit?

A demolition permit is required for all buildings that would normally require a building permit. The Ontario Building Code exempts buildings located on a farm.


What information is needed for a demolition permit?

The Application for a Permit to Demolish is required to be submitted along with confirmation from all utilities that the services have been disconnected to the building.


What do I need to provide to get a building permit?

All documents that may need to accompany the building permit application can be found in the Guidelines for Building Permit Application and also in the Application for a Permit to Construct or Demolish. It is up to the discretion of the Chief Building Official to request more information as required.


Who should apply for the building permit – the contractor or the owner?

The owner of the property or an authorized agent for the owner (contractor) must apply for the building permit. Authorized agents can submit the form Authorization of Owner(s) for Applicant/Agent to Make the Application or similar form with the permit application.


Where do I submit a Building Permit Application?

Building Permit Applications should be submitted to the Building Department. How long does it take to approve a Building Permit Application?Depending on the project, a permit must be issued from ten business days for a residential structure and up to thirty days for more complex buildings providing all applicable drawings have been received and approved, all fees paid, and any applicable law has not been contravened.


What are the Building Permit Fees?

The Building Permit Fees can be found under Index I of the Fee Bylaw.


What happens if I DO NOT get a building permit?

Constructing or altering a structure without a Permit can result in numerous problems including:

  • not conforming with the Ontario Building Code
  • putting yourself and your family at potential risk
  • putting yourself at liability should an injury occur to someone while visiting your property as a result of a structure not conforming to the Ontario Building Code
  • extra cost in having to reconstruct, replace, or remove the structure according to the Zoning By-law and Ontario Building Code
  • increased permit fees
  • insurance protection nullification
  • difficulty selling the property
  • complaints from neighbours

How much notice does the Building Inspector require to perform an inspection?

The Ontario Building Code requires the inspection to be completed within two (2) business days for regular inspections and no later than five (5) business days for sewage systems. The time begins on the following day after the request has been received.


Who is responsible for requesting an inspection?

The person to whom the permit was originally issued is responsible for requesting all necessary inspections.


What happens if construction work does not meet Ontario Building Code standards?

If at time of inspection the inspected work does not meet the appropriate criteria according to the Ontario Building Code, the issue must be rectified and, in most cases, a re-inspection will be required before the project can proceed.